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  • Welcome to
    Marine Conservation & Ecotourism

2 - 12 weeks, From 10.995 DKK / 1,720 USD

Reservation for
Marine Conservation & Eco Tourism

Marine Conservation & Eco Tourism

  • About

    This amazing marine project will bring you to the home of the marine big five! As a volunteer, you will get to work alongside experts in marine ecotourism and research. The longer you stay, the more you get to experience. Your main task will be assisting with the safety, comfort and education of ecotourism clients, but you will also go cage diving with great white sharks, go on ecotours and go whale watching. You’ll have the chance to assist at the African Penguin and Seabird Sanctuary. You’ll get to participate in data recording and capturing for studies conducted by marine biologists. You’ll even have the chance to book a scuba diving course.

    You can tailor-make your experience from day-to-day, deciding whether you want to work with great white sharks, go whale watching or help out at the African Penguin and Seabird Sanctuary.

    Long-term volunteers may get the opportunity to join the Lwazi research vessel. On the research vessel you can partake in excursions, including the tagging and tracking of sharks, the collection of data for BRUV studies or assisting with other surveys. Lwazi is a beautiful vessel. It has been featured on numerous documentaries, including ones on see on National Geographic, BBC and Shark Week.

    This exciting programme is for marine wildlife enthusiasts who want to gain experience in responsible tourism – and for those who want to have an experience of a lifetime!

  • Activities

    • Cage diving with great white and/or bronze whaler sharks
    • Whale watching
    • Working with African penguins
    • Assisting the crew during trips
    • Preparing and cleaning boats
    • Assisting with research (capturing data and photographs)
    • Assisting with shark tagging (long-term volunteers)
    • Preparing diving kit bags
    • Beach clean-up
    Off-Sea Days:

    We organise recreational activities for days when we are not at sea.

    Activities could include:
    • A day trip to Cape Agulhas - the southern-most tip of Africa
    • A visit to Klipgat Caves, an archaeological site in De Kelders
    • A visit to the Stony Point Penguin Colony in Betty’s Bay
    • Kelp diving at Stanford’s Cove
    • Horse riding
    • A visit to Panthera Africa, a captive big cat sanctuary (Please note: volunteers are not allowed to pet the cats)
    • A visit to nearby hot springs
    • Quad biking
    • A shopping excursion in Hermanus
    • Wine tasting in the Hemel and Aarde Valley
    • A visit to the Danger Point Lighthouse
    • Hikes in the local area
    • A visit to the Strandveld Museum
    • A visit to the Birkenhead micro-brewery and the Klein River Cheese factory
    • River boat cruises in Stanford
    Please note: Entrance fees might apply to some activities. The fees, along with food and beverage costs, are not included in the project fee.
  • Facilities

    Four cottages accommodate up to six people each. The cottages have two twin bedrooms, two beds in the communal area, a kitchenette, a living area and daily living essentials.

    The main building includes a kitchen with induction cooktops, a microwave and an oven for cooking. It has a fully functional recycling system in place.

    The living area has satellite TV, a DVD player, a dart board, a pool table, a foosball table and board games. There’s also an activity hall with weights and the equipment to play table tennis along with a big, safe swimming pool and a large garden.

    • Laundry

      The price of laundry is not included in your project fee, but clothes can be taken to a commercial laundry twice weekly. The price per kilogram of laundry is R17. Your bedding will be washed once per week at no charge. 

    • Food & Meals

      The project provides ingredients for a self-service breakfast, including tea, coffee, juice, eggs, bacon (or a vegetarian option), bread, cereals and milk. Items are also available self-serve for lunch, including selections such as cheese and tomato or peanut butter sandwiches. Dinner is not provided. The project has a fully-equipped kitchen, so many volunteers buy food to make at the lodge. On some occasions, the group goes out to a restaurant to eat. The project’s sister company, the Great White House restaurant is the hub of our activities and is situated nearby. Alcohol is available for volunteers to purchase.

    • Internet & Phone Reception

      The project offers free Wi-Fi at the main centre where you live and at the Great White House. The house is the tourism hub where you start and end each trip of the day.
      Cell phone reception is available. Check with your service provider for costs or purchase a local SIM card at the airport.

    • Credit Cards & Cash

      We recommend you bring South African rand in small bills to purchase snacks, soft drinks and other goods on-site.

    • Shops

      The nearest stop is 1.4 kilometres (.8 miles) from your accommodation. It is located next to the Great White House, the tourist hub where you start and end your daily activities on the vessel. You will also visit the grocery store in Gansbaai three times per week.

  • Travel info

    This page will guide you on how to book your flights, how transportation to and from Marine Conservation & Ecotourism works and which vaccinations are required for your trip. We also advise volunteers download the PDF provided for additional information under “Download info PDF.”

    Please note, You will not be picked up at the airport. You will need to arrive a day before you plan to join the project and spend one night in Cape Town before the project collects you on Monday mornings. The same applies for when you are going home. You will be dropped off at the accommodation you booked so that you can have a last night in Cape Town before flying out on a Tuesday.

    If you have a flight leaving after 7 p.m. on a Monday, you can be dropped off at the Cape Town International Airport (CPT) instead.

    You will receive a document with recommended hostels and hotels, so you can choose and book the accommodation you prefer. Members of the project have visited all the recommended listings in the document.

    It is possible to get a taxi or shuttle right outside the airport, but you should first check with people at the accommodation you booked about a possible airport transfer.

    • Flight Itinerary

      Flights should be booked to arrive on a Sunday at CPT. Your return flight can be booked to leave at anytime on a Tuesday. If you prefer to fly out on a Monday, your flight must depart after 7 p.m.

    • Transfer

      You will be picked up on a Monday by the shuttle, which is marked “Discover and Protect.” Please make sure to inform us about where you will be staying in Cape Town. You will be picked up between 4 a.m. and 9 a.m. on Monday morning. Please note: The time range can change depending on weather and other factors. The evening before a scheduled trip, members of the project will inform you about your pickup time via email and by leaving a message at the reception desk at your accommodation.

      The project does not offer transportation from the airport, so you will have to take a taxi or a shuttle to your accommodation when you arrive in Cape Town on Sunday. Usually, your accommodation can provide transportation to and from the airport.

    • Vaccinations

      We recommend you consult with your doctor to ensure you have the appropriate vaccinations before you trip. The project is situated in a malaria-free area.

    • Travel insurance

      It is mandatory that you have valid travel insurance for your entire trip. The insurance will cover all costs involved with any kind of an emergency or incident, i.e. an air rescue, hospital or medical costs and flights. Please contact your local travel insurance agent, otherwise we can recommend the travel insurer World Nomads: https://www.worldnomads.com/

  • FAQ

    • How many times will I be going on the boat?

      Our priority is to give you as much sea time as possible, but we are affected by weather, the tide, sea conditions and seasonal demand. We aim to ensure you can go to sea as much as possible. If you are not working on Slashfin, you could go on Dream Catcher or possibly on our research boat, if it’s going out.

    • How often will I be cage diving with sharks?

      On your first day, you will enjoy the cage diving experience as if you were a client so that you understand the experience. Thereafter, you will slot in with the duties of the volunteers onboard. As space and time allows, the skipper will let you know if you can get in the cage when we are hosting clients. If we have been busy and there has not been a chance for volunteers to dive, we try to plan an exclusive trip just for volunteers depending on weather, time and other factors.

    • When is the best time of the year for sharks?

      We are very lucky in that we have sharks all year-round, so you can join us at any time of the year. There are some pros and cons to visits in either season. In the summer (from December to February) the weather is warm, but we sometimes struggle with visibility due to algal blooms in the water. The sharks spend time in the shallows during the summer and we can see some big females during this time of the year. By winter (from June to August) the sharks head out to the islands, where they begin hunting more actively on the seals of Geyser Rock. We have better visibility then, and, believe it or not, slightly warmer water, but we also get some rough winter storms that can keep us off the sea. Either way, we will keep you busy with everything else we offer for off-sea days in the programme. So, come whenever suits you!

    • What will I be doing on the boat?

      You will be assisting the crew in dive operations, helping clients, recording data, observing and getting the boat ready before launch. You’ll also help when the boat returns to land, cleaning wetsuits and preparing equipment for the next day. Some of the tasks can be quite physical, so a healthy degree of fitness is required – as are sea legs!

    • How many hours will I be working?

      This depends on the number of trips we take and the number of volunteers assisting, but you could work one or two trips per day. Some volunteers like the option of joining a second trip, when space allows, to get more sea time. This involves anywhere from half to a full day’s work. We fit in presentations and other activities when you are not at sea.

    • Will I be receiving presentations?

      Presentations are part of the programme. Presentations are done by our skipper, our deckhand, our conservation trust, our marine biologists and visiting scientists and students. Depending on the length of your time here, you will have the chance to learn about shark biology and behaviour, our research, conservation projects, whale and dolphin research and biology, basic seamanship, knot tying and more. We also host some marine evenings with an outside speaker.

    • Will I have time off?

      You can take time off whenever you need. We work seven days a week, depending on the weather. We do not expect volunteers to work these hours, so taking the day off is easy. You just need to inform your volunteer coordinator. Just don’t miss out on valuable time at sea with the sharks!

    • What time will I be picked up in Cape Town?

      Our collection times are generally between 4 a.m. and 9 a.m. every Monday. We have our own shuttle service that carries cage diving or whale watching clients, and it will collect you too. Please note that the time of pickup can change depending on the weather, trip timing and other factors. We will communicate the pickup time to you (or to people at the place you are staying) on the evening before your trip. We do not pickup volunteers from the airport, so you will have to take a shuttle to your accommodation the day before we collect you. You should check with people at the accommodation you booked about a possible airport transfer.

    • How will I get back to Cape Town after my programme?

      On a Monday, our shuttle service will return you to the place that you are staying at in Cape Town. On return trips we can drop volunteers off at the airport, but flights must be booked to leave after 7 p.m., so please plan this well. We will sort out your return trip when you are with us. 

    • What happens if I can’t book the programme from Monday to Monday?

      We understand that this is not always possible, but it is recommended. Otherwise, you may miss out on presentations about the accommodation and work on the boat. Please note that if you start or end the programme on any day other than a Monday, you might need to pay for private transportation to the project.

    • Do I need any vaccinations?

      No, South Africa is not a malaria risk area. If you are coming from South America or travelling in Africa before you join our programme you might need a yellow fever vaccination and certificate. If you aren’t sure, you should check with your local travel clinic.

    • Do I need to bring any medication?

      If you need to take medication, then we recommend you bring your own. We have a pharmacy and very good doctors in Gansbaai. Our nearest hospital is a 40-minute drive away. We suggest you bring tablets or patches with you for seasickness (these should be taken the evening before a planned dive and in the morning, before the dive). Please remember to bring good sunblock, as the South African sun is very harsh. If you suffer from any illness or epilepsy that requires you to take medication daily, please inform your coordinator. If you have a chronic condition, we require a doctor’s confirmation that you are fit to be in this programme.

    • How do the meals work?

      The project provides ingredients for a self-service breakfast, including tea, coffee, juice, eggs, bacon (or a vegetarian option), bread, cereals and milk. Items are also available self-serve for lunch, including selections such as cheese and tomato or peanut butter sandwiches. Dinner is not provided. The project has a fully-equipped kitchen, so many volunteers buy food to make at the lodge. On some occasions, the group goes out to a restaurant to eat. The project’s sister company, the Great White House restaurant is the hub of our activities and is situated nearby. Alcohol is available for volunteers to purchase.

    • What are the living conditions like?

      You will be sharing accommodations with other volunteers at the International Marine Volunteer Centre. The lodge is equipped with four cottages that house between four and six people each with a shared bathroom, kitchenette and living area as well as daily living essentials.

    • Will I have internet access?

      We have wireless internet at the International Marine Volunteer Centre and at the Great White House. We also have a laptop available for communal use at the centre. The downloading of movies, games or music is strictly prohibited.

    • Do I need a visa?

      Finding out about and complying with your country’s visa requirements is entirely your responsibility. Please check with the South African embassy in your home country for more information. We will not be held responsible for any people entering South Africa and being deported due to incorrect paperwork. 

    • Do I need to bring dive gear?

      You do not need to bring scuba diving gear. Cage diving involves a breath-hold dive and we provide all necessary gear.

    • What is important to bring?

      • Tablets or patches to treat seasickness
      • Polarised sunglasses
      • Sunblock
      • A warm jacket, warm clothes and a beanie – especially in the wintertime. South African buildings are not heated inside!
      • Old clothes and shoes
      • Medication
      • Regular clothes and shoes (sneakers are recommended)
      • Personal belongings
      • Your driver’s license, if you are planning on renting a car while in South Africa
      • An open mind and a love for marine animals
      •  

    • I want to make the most of my programme. How long should my trip be?

      Two weeks: This is good, and you’ll get sea time even if there’s bad weather. You will see some presentations and you can help with some conservation and social projects.

      Three weeks: This is even better. You will have a great time! We will arrange for some excursions and wine tasting, or visits to surrounding towns, so that you can see more of our area. You will get a lot more boat time, see more presentations and help with more conservation and social projects.

      Four or more weeks: This is the best period to book for! You will be able to do all that our programme has to offer, and maybe even get the chance to be a part of our research team alongside our marine biologists.

    • How do things work with laundry?

      The price of laundry is not included in your project fee, but clothes can be taken to a commercial laundry twice weekly. The price per kilogram of laundry is R17. Your bedding will be washed once per week at no charge. 

  • Reviews

    “This was hands down the most memorable and most amazing experience of my life! I got to work closely with my absolute favourite animals (sharks) as well as the rest of the marine big 5 and I made a second family. Words honestly cannot even begin to describe my love for this trip and my love for the wonderful staff, thank you, Marie, Meredith, Hennie, and Ettiene again so so much for making my time in Gansbaai just so special:) 10/10 would most definitely recommend to every person on this earth.”
    Danielle Wiebe, USA

    “This program is awesome! You get to work with knowledgeable and passionate marine biologists and crew, get up close with the Great White and - hopefully - see the Marine Big 5. Working on the shark boat was my favorite. To be on the open ocean and see these majestic animals up close and learn about them was absolutely amazing. 
    The IMV lodge is a cool place to chill and hang out with the other volunteers.”
    Maria Erenskjold, Denmark

    ”I had the most amazing time ever! My lifelong dream of seeing the great whites came true, and I met such awesome people from all over the world! Would strongly recommend to do this.”
    Hanna Mikkonen, Sweden

    “Seeing the Marine Big 5 is an incredible feeling and diving with the great white shark is one of the best experiences I've ever had! 
    In this program you will learn a lot about conservation and you get the chance to make a difference! Next to the serious work there is also time for partying ;-) and the team makes you feel like a part of the family!”
    Bettina Jud, Germany

    I had the opportunity to learn so much about marine life and just how important the conservation of our oceans is. It inspired a real passion and respect for marine animals and everyone who works with them. An experience I really never will forget, and I will 100% be coming back!”
    Alicia Willoughby, UK

    ”I love it here! The weather is extremely diverse but have seen so many great white sharks. Whales, seals and penguins. Even Took part in some research with a humpback whale!! Would love to come back one day!!”
    Lisa D’Arcy, UK

    I got to fulfil my dream of seeing great white sharks up close and personal. Absolutely fantastic experience. Really lovely people, made me feel so welcome. I also learnt a lot about marine life and conservation. Would highly recommend these guys for an amazing life experience!”
    James Kilgour, UK

    ”I loved it there. Me and the other volunteers at the time has a blast. It’s what you make of it and we made every second count.”
    Adrien Heartfilia, USA

Why we love it

  • You will get to experience the great white sharks, whales and penguins

  • You get to work together with experts in marine ecotourism and research

  • You can tailor your own experience from day-to-day depending on which experience you prefer

  • Long-term volunteers might get the opportunity to participate in tagging and tracking of great white sharks

  • There are lots of different activities you can book on your off days, such as horse riding, quad biking and visits to nearby hot springs

  • The facilities are comfortable, and you are welcomed by the friendly staff who will take great care of you. However, please note that breakfast is self-service, and dinner is not provided. Learn more under “Facilities”

  • You will help clean the beaches with “beach clean-ups”. The wildlife & environment will thank you for that - and it feels great!

  • You will enjoy this experience with like-minded people from all over the world

  • This was hands down the most memorable and most amazing experience of my life!
    - Danielle Wiebe, USA
  • To be on the open ocean and see these majestic animals up close and learn about them was absolutely amazing.
    - Maria Erenskjold, Denmark
  • My lifelong dream of seeing the great whites came true, and I met such awesome people from all over the world!
    - Hanna Mikkonen, Sweden
  • You will learn a lot about conservation and you get the chance to make a difference!
    - Bettina Jud, Germany
  • An experience I really never will forget, and I will 100% be coming back!
    - Alicia Willoughby, UK
  • The weather is extremely diverse but have seen so many great white sharks.
    - Lisa D’Arcy, UK
  • Would highly recommend these guys for an amazing life experience!
    - James Kilgour, UK
  • Me and the other volunteers at the time has a blast
    - Adrien Heartfilia, USA

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    Danske Bank 3409 – 11179819
    Mail: info@lostadventures.com

    Phone: (0045) 50214040

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